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Thread: New Audi A3 suspension

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    New Audi A3 suspension

    Hi all
    I am about to order the new A3 tdi s-line but am struggling to decide what suspension option to go for. You can go for the normal SE setup, sport or s-line suspension. The s-line is 25mm lower than standard and 10mm lower than the sport suspension. My preference would be for the s-line suspension as this would be the most driver focussed, however, some of the reviews suggest sticking with the standard suspension would be the best option. I have also read a fair bit about the s-line suspension ruining the ride of other Audi's, would I be making a mistake if I went for the s-line suspension? I do a fair few motorway miles mixed in with A&B road driving.
    Appreciate its a subjective question but your thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Personally I have an existing A3 Sportback with standard SE suspension and would not want anything 'more sporty'. The suspension works fine for me and I not a slow driver but I do make some long journeys to Germany and Austria and I not want to do that on a sports suspension, but it's a case of each to his own.

    Again personally I would definitely not order a new car without being able to have a test drive of the suspension I was thinking of ordering. Phone around and see if any dealers have any demonstrators yet and if not when are they likely to get one. If they are not expecting one just yet at least try an existing A3 on the different suspension set-ups before making a decision.
    Dave R (h5djr)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    I have a black edition which has the lowest of the 3 options. The ride is firm and if you do drive over a lot if bad roads I suppose it could become a bit tiresome. I personally don't mind it.

    However I don't do long drives and if I did the sport would be a nice compromise. A few guys at work could have had black editions but most have gone for sports and loaded up the options so they get all of the Sline and BE goodies but with a more comfortable car.

    Only way to tell what's for you is an extended test drive in an Sline or BE

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    Artimus's Avatar
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    s line suspension is fairly firm, but I wouldn't say overly so! You haven't mentioned 'Magnetic' suspension and I've read that it's very compliant when in comfort mode and definitely more supple than standard fare. perhaps you should enquire about test driving that too.
    ................................................
    2009 A3 SB 2.0T DSG S line
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    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    I'll be making the same decision when I order mine. I do find the suspension on my S-Line quite firm but it doesn't bother me. It actually bothers passengers more.

    I might consider the Sport suspension but will never go for the standard SE suspension for the simple reason that I think the car will look like it's on stilts. With 18" rims and 40-section tyres, a big gap between the top of the tyre and the wheel-arch will look ridiculous IMO.
    Daytona Grey Audi A3 2.0TDI 150 S-Line with Tech Pack, Comfort Pack, Interior Light Pack, Alcantara/Leather seats, B&O sound, DAB radio, Folding/dimming mirrors

  7. #6
    You've certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to when you say a hard suspension bothers passengers more than the driver. My wife obviously spends a lot of the time in the passengers seat of my car, despite having her own A1, and I would not like to think that she is not as comfortable as me. The passenger is usually on the roughest side of the road, especially when driving through country lanes.
    Dave R (h5djr)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    Cheers for the input, I have bit the bullet and ordered a tdi s-line with s-line suspension, spoke to Audi and apparently the s-line suspension isn't as unforgiving as previous s-line audis, will have to wait and see!

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    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    I think they've probably tweaked the S-Line suspension a bit, plus the longer wheelbase of the new model will improve comfort and ride quality too.
    Daytona Grey Audi A3 2.0TDI 150 S-Line with Tech Pack, Comfort Pack, Interior Light Pack, Alcantara/Leather seats, B&O sound, DAB radio, Folding/dimming mirrors

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    Daggerit's Avatar
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    I know it's not the same car but I test drive a new S-line A4 and A5 and it was no where near as choppy and harsh as my 2010 A3 BE was so here's hoping! That said it still handled very well for such a big car so looks like the suspension setup may be on the up and up.
    Daytona Grey A4 3.0 TDi Quattro S-Tronic Black Edition



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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    Again personally I would definitely not order a new car without being able to have a test drive of the suspension I was thinking of ordering. Phone around and see if any dealers have any demonstrators yet and if not when are they likely to get one.
    I'm currently trying to find a 1.6 TDI S-Line to test drive before ordering and I've been told I may have to wait 3 weeks as there are ot many available.

  12. #11
    You counld try a current 2.0TDI S-Line - there are probably more of them available than the 1.6 TDI and I would think the suspension would be much the same. Even a 2.0 TFSI S-Line would not be that different.
    suzannec likes this.
    Dave R (h5djr)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    Vertigo1's Avatar
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    The question is how relevant such a comparison would be. Firstly the new model has a longer wheelbase which will affect things significantly. Secondly, I'm pretty sure they'll have tweaked the suspension anyway.

    What I would say is that I'd be 99.9% certain that the new S-Line will ride better than the current one so, if you can find a current one to test drive and you find it acceptable from a hardness/harshness point of view, you'll likely have no issues with the new one.

    Personally I'll be going for the Sport suspension as I don't need the additional firmness of the S-Line option and think it'll look too high on the standard suspension.
    Daytona Grey Audi A3 2.0TDI 150 S-Line with Tech Pack, Comfort Pack, Interior Light Pack, Alcantara/Leather seats, B&O sound, DAB radio, Folding/dimming mirrors

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    I've recently ordered a new 1.4TFSI A3 Sport with the standard suspension, on the basis that all of the reviews of the car have said to avoid the Sport and S-Line suspensions. Having seen an example of the car (albeit TDI version) at my local dealer a few weeks ago, it definitely doesn't look too high.

    My current car has the S-Line suspension, and it is absurdly hard and uncomfortable. I'm sure it is fine on smooth German autobahns, but on crappy uneven British roads it just doesn't work. It simply isn't compliant enough to follow the surface undulations, with the result that 1 or 2 of the wheels are almost always partially unloaded, reducing, not increasing grip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfspen View Post
    I've recently ordered a new 1.4TFSI A3 Sport with the standard suspension, on the basis that all of the reviews of the car have said to avoid the Sport and S-Line suspensions. Having seen an example of the car (albeit TDI version) at my local dealer a few weeks ago, it definitely doesn't look too high.

    My current car has the S-Line suspension, and it is absurdly hard and uncomfortable. I'm sure it is fine on smooth German autobahns, but on crappy uneven British roads it just doesn't work. It simply isn't compliant enough to follow the surface undulations, with the result that 1 or 2 of the wheels are almost always partially unloaded, reducing, not increasing grip.
    It'll be the tyres hard sidewall, ultra low profile & high tyre pressure that causes it to lose grip & compliance, not the suspension. A softer sidewall & slightly lower pressures will help if the roads you regularly drive are rippled or pot-holed.

    Spec'ing smaller wheels would have been a better way to go IMO! On your current car, for example: (17') with higher profile tyres (205x50) would give you 1cm of extra cushioning and only affect your speedo by a maximum of 0.5mph at 150mph. If you like the occasional 'spirited' drive, you could be disappointed with your new car's saggy handling characteristics.

    Just something to think about before it's too late.
    ................................................
    2009 A3 SB 2.0T DSG S line
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artimus View Post
    It'll be the tyres hard sidewall, ultra low profile & high tyre pressure that causes it to lose grip & compliance, not the suspension. A softer sidewall & slightly lower pressures will help if the roads you regularly drive are rippled or pot-holed......
    Well the low profile tyres don't help certainly, but I don't believe they are the dominant factor. Plenty of other cars have similar wheels/tyres but don't suffer from a spine shattering ride (eg. some BMW 3 series models). I have also noted that the Sportback version of the old A3 S-Line is markedly more compliant, despite still having 18" wheels.

    All of the reviews I have read on the new A3 say the handling is absolutely fine with the standard suspension, and isn't improved by speccing the firmer options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfspen View Post
    Well the low profile tyres don't help certainly, but I don't believe they are the dominant factor. Plenty of other cars have similar wheels/tyres but don't suffer from a spine shattering ride (eg. some BMW 3 series models)....
    believe they are A dominant factor, as is the lighter unsprung weight of bigger alloys shod in less heavy rubber.

    The 3 series is not a hot hatch, & so doesn't qualify as a good comparison - an equal would be the 1S.



    When all's said and done, it's your choice and I'm just giving you pause...

    Enjoy your new Car.
    ................................................
    2009 A3 SB 2.0T DSG S line
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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    I just think that all of the reviews can't be wrong. Not one of them has recommended the firmer suspension.

    On this occasion, I have no opportunity to test drive the new car of course, so I don't want to take the risk of getting another bone crusher. I've had enough of the one I've already got !
    Artimus likes this.

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    Reviews depend very much on the reviewer, whereas an Auto-Express reviewer would say a car handles great! a Top Gear reviewer might describe the exact same car as 'a barge'. lol

    From a personal point of view - I see my current standard SB as the upper limit of harshness, but I'd expect the 3dr to be that little bit stiffer because of the stiffer 3dr bodyshell.
    Last edited by Artimus; 12th July 2012 at 19:16.
    ................................................
    2009 A3 SB 2.0T DSG S line
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfspen View Post
    I just think that all of the reviews can't be wrong. Not one of them has recommended the firmer suspension.

    On this occasion, I have no opportunity to test drive the new car of course, so I don't want to take the risk of getting another bone crusher. I've had enough of the one I've already got !
    I haven't read one review of the new a3 on sport or sline suspension, it would appear all the tested cars were on standard suspension regardless of the trim level. Not really sure how they can make a recommendation without having tested one of the new cars on a firmer suspension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by poweller View Post
    I haven't read one review of the new a3 on sport or sline suspension, it would appear all the tested cars were on standard suspension regardless of the trim level.......
    ....Which possibly suggests that Audi expected poor reviews if they had supplied test cars with the firm suspension. Audi is notorious for not getting their 'sportier' suspensions right, not just the A3, but right across the range. They are not known as 'Poor Sprung Durch Technik' for nothing !!

    I would strongly suggest that you try out one of the current 3-door A3 S-Lines before it is too late to change your order. On rough country roads, my car is terrible. It's not just the dreadful ride, but the handling is poor too. Drive fast through a series of bends, and the car is skittish and juddery. The springing is just too stiff to follow the road surface variations. The Sportback version of the A3 S-Line is much better however, and on identical wheels - it feels like a completely different car.

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    Yeah I guess that could be likely! I wonder if the drive select system will compensate if the ride is too firm on rough roads? Will try and organise a test drive, I was tempted by choosing the sport suspension, guess its not too late to change it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by poweller View Post
    I wonder if the drive select system will compensate if the ride is too firm on rough roads?
    I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe that the drive select system only varies the suspension if you have selected 'magnetic ride' from the options list. I think it just varies throttle and steering response otherwise.

  24. #23
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    Magnetic ride doesn't even seem to be available on the new A3. Maybe there was very little take-up of it on the last model so they didn't bother?
    Daytona Grey Audi A3 2.0TDI 150 S-Line with Tech Pack, Comfort Pack, Interior Light Pack, Alcantara/Leather seats, B&O sound, DAB radio, Folding/dimming mirrors

 

 

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